MIAMI, FLA. – Today, immigrant advocates, student organizations and civil libertarians denounce Florida Gov. Rick Scott for his veto of a drivers license bill for DREAMers who have earned DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status. This bill was passed unanimously and in good faith with bipartisan support in the state Senate. It would have simply codified into law what is already current practice. Providing an opportunity for drivers licenses improves safety by reducing unlicensed, uninsured drivers and promotes social and economic mobility.
In 2010 Governor Scott campaigned for governor on the promise of bringing to Florida the now disreputable “show me your papers” Arizona law. That effort failed. He then unsuccessfully attempted to purge 180,000 immigrant voters from the rolls immediately before the 2012 Presidential election. Again, he was thwarted when it was found unconstitutional. With yesterday’s veto Governor Scott is cementing his legacy as an anti-immigrant, anti-Latino politician.
Speaking on behalf of diverse sectors of the immigrant community, Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition commented: “Gov. Scott is distinguishing himself by continuing his failed anti-immigrant, anti-Latino stances that limit opportunity and insult broad sectors of the electorate and community. These are short-sited, narrow-minded approaches that undermine our state’s workforce from their full productivity. This extreme stance also goes against the will of the State Senate, and undermines values of democratic process, fairness and opportunity.”
A DREAMer and leader of Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) said,” Whether or not the Governor’s veto will prevent DREAMers with DACA-Deferred Action from receiving drivers licenses, the veto goes against the a near unanimous and bipartisan good faith effort by the State Legislature to acknowledge the role that DREAMers play in making Florida a better state. He once again failed to put the lives of Florida’s large immigrant communities first and is instead pandering to small, extremist, and racist minority.”
In a year where immigration reform is a national bi-partisan priority and is supported by 70% of Florida’s voters, it is clear that Gov. Scott will go down on the wrong side of history.
For more information about Florida Immigrant Coalition go to www.floridaimmigrant.org